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Conservative MP: Church is deluded if it thinks Parliament will listen to opposition of same-sex marriage

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  1. He added: “If it wishes to be a national Church that reflects the nation, it has to reflect the values of the nation.”

    Yet it has it’s own commissioner and 26 bishops in parliament. That’s a huge voice for an organisation that doesn’t reflect the values of the nation.

    And that is before we mention the voice of the queen in parliament, the head of this same church.

    Disestablishment now!

    1. I doubt this will result in the disestablishment of the Church of England, but I’m cautiously optimistic that this will be used as an excuse to kick the bishops out of the House of Lords.

      The Tory / Lib Dem coalition agreement included Lords reform, and the Tories have apparently reneged on that. With the coalition parties currently arguing over the “mansion tax” council tax bands, I can see the Tories would be keen to do something that will be both popular with the country and with their coalition partner, whilst not costing anything. Kicking the bishops out of the Lords seems to tick all of those boxes. Certainly it doesn’t reform the Lords as much as they pledged in the coalition agreement, but it might be enough to get the Lib Dems back in bed with the Tories, and without the Tories having to sacrifice anything they particularly care about. If I were Cameron’s adviser, I’d be pushing him in this direction.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 23 Nov 2012, 12:19pm

      I’ve been calling for that for years, written to my MP countless number of times and all you get back is a polite response and really no interest in pursuing it. The equal marriage opponents call for a referendum and I call for a referendum for disestablishment. Two can play that game. I can hear the bigots’ screams of abuse of religious freedom, the usual victim card nonsense when they can’t get their way.

      Sir Tony is right though. The recent opposition to female bishops has really put the nail in the coffin in the CoE’s attempt to thwart equal marriages and has really alienated a lot of women, especially the younger generation.

  2. The church is deluded anyway – it believes in the existence of gods…

  3. “Sir Tony has previously spoken out against equal marriage”

    and is Tony Baldry now as a result of this going to speak out in favour of equal civil marriage?

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 23 Nov 2012, 12:20pm

      He may not, but he will of course concede that it is inevitable, unwelcome news to the CoE.

  4. Does this mean that he’s had a change of heart, or is he trying to warn the church that it’s taking a bad approach and needs to step up?

    Either way, when the church still views women as second-class, something I’d previously only associated with the vile Islam, it’s clear that they’re not exactly making breakthroughs when it comes to love, equality, basic morality and civil freedoms. They’re still stuck in their bigoted rut, centuries away from reality.

    1. That There Other David 22 Nov 2012, 9:24pm

      All this says to me is that he’s upset they rejected women bishops, so he’s using us as the naughty stick.

      “Look what you did traditionalists. By voting against what I wanted you’ve let the dirty gays get married. Don’t you ever learn?”

      All a bit juvenile and certainly not on our side.

  5. And I suggest that the govt should also not listen to their arguments about any opt out being challenged in the EU!. The church has had opt outs from employing women and gays with no challenge in the EU, their argument of a an EU challenge if equal civil marriage is introduced is utter nonsense.

    They should stop peddling this lie and the Tory right wing MPs should stop hiding behind it.

  6. This is certainly a change in tone from Sir Tony. Even though it is encouraging for anyone who supports equality and diversity that a leading critic of equal marriage has effectively accepted defeat on the issue, it is a shame he is being so polarised in his approach. The church is actually, if you’ll excuse the expression, a broad church with lots of views about the marriage issue. Many churchy people have approached MPs expressing their support for equal marriage. Even several bishops and other senior clergy have expressed support, their voices playing an important role in the current debate. Perhaps MPs have, in fact, been listening to the arguments of all these different viewpoints and simply have more sympathy with those who favour the move to upgrade the institution of marriage to same-sex couples. The issues here are not as black and white, or ‘anti-church’, as Sir Tony suggests. He should be more hopeful . . . and have more faith!

    1. But it’s not the official line taken by the CofE as shown in their submission to the consultation on equal civil marriage nor has Tony Baldry admitted this fact as yet. They all know there is a hard core section of the church campaigning against SSM and bomarding them with letters and emails yet none of them speak out against these groups and many of them have been telling us that these groups are speaking for the majority. The right wing side of the Tory party are working with these groups and are not telling us the truth about who the opposition to SSM is coming from. None of them are willing to repudiate these groups.

    2. Come off it Tom, there may be an element of truth in what you say but in “the official line” from the C of E remains relentlessly anti-lgbt & the extremist groups are allowed to make all the running in the publicity stakes.

      When is anyone in the C of E going to challenge, for instance, “Anglican Mainstream” a website almost solely dedicated to persecuting and deriding gaypeople.

      It’s being done in your name, Tom, and I don’t hear anyone saying “they don’t speak for us”

      1. Sister Mary Clarence 23 Nov 2012, 9:07am

        Benji, it you read it carefully the statement by Tony Baldry (the CofE commissioners representative in parliament) is saying that the Church in opposing same sex marriage is not representing him. Has has not once referred to the church as ‘we’, although as their representative he is undoubtedly ‘we’. Again and again though he sets himself apart from them by the referring to ‘the Church’ and ‘it’.

        His statement absolutely says ‘you do not speak for me’.

        My guess is however that the women bishops issue has played a large part in an apparent about face. He is juggling two hats and in a straight contest juggling the equal marriage views of his constituents and his church interests, things might have been closer, but the outrageous inequality of their decision on women bishops has really painted the CofE as throwbacks to the dark ages, which my guess is has tipped it in our favour.

        The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways!!

    3. “He should have more faith” I think it should be clear by now that faith solves nothing. The people in the church who cling most faithfully to scripture are the biggest bigots. Those who rely on faith to rectify injustice are those who do nothing and are therefore complicit in the injustice.

  7. Just possibly these infuriating extremist right wing fundamentalists have tweaked the tail of the sleeping lion too hard this time?

    Let’s hope the vast majority of decent and reasonable people who make up the mass of british society finally wake up & retake possession of the “national church” from the nasty idiots who have infiltrated it.

    Either way the Church should not be part of government or using the (rapidly dwindling) store of good will amongst the Establishment, to influenece or intterfere with civil affairs or to impose their sectarian religious practices on anyone else.

  8. Midnighter 22 Nov 2012, 8:40pm

    I see that the BBC has censored the gay out of their story as usual and omitted any reference to this in their article on his speech:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20443718

  9. This Tony Baldry seems to be wagging a finger at the CoE and telling it that if does “the right thing” and accepts women bishops, then it will earn respect, and then when it demands that we should not be permitted to marry, parliament will listen to it!

    I suppose he thinks he’s a kind-hearted liberal!

  10. True-with their rejection of women bishops-they have only suceeded in making themselves appear out of touch with society-and positively spiteful and vindictive against women and gay people.

  11. We elect people to legislate on civil law. The least we can expect is that they don’t listen to the church or only listen to the church with regard to their specific concerns, and not on matters of civil law.

  12. “If it wishes to be a national church that reflects the nation, it has to reflect the values of the nation.”

    Except by opposing equal marriage the CofE already doesn’t reflect the values of the majority of the nation, who are pro equal civil marriage. Voting against women bishops just compounds what was already true.

    I’m an atheist, but I still happily respect any religious organisation that respects me in turn. As a gay woman the CofE have already shown loud and clear that they don’t respect me, my sex, or my sexuality.

    The fact that these bigots have permanent and secured places in the House of Lords disgusts me.

  13. Benji-you are so right- Anglican Mainstream purports to speak in the name of the CofE- but it is peddling pure homophobia in the Church’s name. And yet – the church does NOTHING!

  14. Pavlos Prince of Greece 22 Nov 2012, 11:08pm

    Thanks, Mr. Baldry. But who will say this for the Catholic Church too? Maybe Mr. Clegg, again? We have not a lot of candidates for this mission, I suspect.

  15. Christopher in Canada 23 Nov 2012, 3:25am

    Sects, sects, sects! All anyone talks about these days is sects!

    BTW, the Anglican Church of Canada has a lot of affirming congregations and female priests!

  16. Its great that the UK, NZ and France are moving forward and that Hawaii will have equal marriage too next year. However, gay activists need to understand that not all of us are fortunate enough to live in England. Gay couples who live in North Carolina, Italy or Queensland, Australia, have almost no rights and even civil partnerships would be a huge step forward in these places. They need our attention too! We need to implement reforms in both liberal and conservative regions

    1. That There Other David 23 Nov 2012, 12:47pm

      Whilst true, progress in those places will be more likely after victories in the countries we can win over now. Italy in particular will have to start bringing in anti-discrimination measures once France, the UK and Ireland finish the journey and implement full equality. The Italians are the one Western European holdout already, and are increasingly looking backward in relation to the countries around them. It’s the same in Oz and the US too. The more states that implement LGBT rights laws without the sky falling the more ridiculous the anti-equality arguments being peddled look.

      The steamroller has begun, it just needs time to get up to speed.

  17. Sister Mary Clarence 23 Nov 2012, 8:55am

    He is the Church of England Commissioners representative in the House of Commons, and yet when taking about the actions of the church, he never uses ‘we’. He refers to the church entirely in the third person, which indicates he does not see himself a part of what the church has been doing.

    I think his statement is excellent he has voiced his disapproval and entirely disassociated himself from their actions.

  18. I wonder how popular a Downing St petition calling for the disestablishment of the Anglican church, all religious organisations to be fully subject to equality legislation, and the removal from the House of Lords all specifically religious members, would be?

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